Friday Morning Federal Newscast – July 1, 2011

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The U.S. Postal Service canceled $7 million worth of bonuses for executives, officers and administrative staff. The Federal Times reports USPS is trying to save money anywhere it can as it faces an $8 billion deficit in 2011. Tony Vegliante, the agency’s chief human resources officer, said the canceled bonuses affect 62,000 employees. Bonuses for unionized workers will still be paid. (Federal Times)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has set a date for when employees can connect to VA’s network using popular mobile devices. That date is October 1. VA said it will release a list of popular mobile devices that will be allowed to connect and be used while on the job. VA’s Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said he is approaching the move in two ways. First, allowing the applications to access VA systems both internally and outside the office. Second, ensuring all information is heavily encrypted and safe. (Federal News Radio)
  • Smartphones are becoming the new frontier for delivering government information and services. The Advanced Mobility Working Group, part of the American Council for Technology, Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) launched an online dialog to garner the best ideas for enabling mobile government. The working group is headed by Rick Holgate, chief information officer of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Tom Suder of the University of Central Florida. They’re looking for ideas for everything from acquisition strategy to developing better mobile apps. The website will be up through July 14. (ACT-IAC)
  • A new Gallup poll found federal employees have higher overall wellbeing than private sector employees – except when it comes to their work environments. The poll found 42 percent of feds have positive relationships with their supervisors, compared to more than 48 percent of non-government workers. But overall, feds’ wellbeing was higher with 86 percent compared to 83 percent of private sector workers. They have higher satisfaction in most areas including access to basic needs like adequate housing and having health insurance. (Federal News Radio)
  • Musical chairs begins today in the upper ranks of the federal government. Leon Panetta begins his new job as defense secretary. Army four-star General David Petraeus takes over for him at the CIA. Petraeus was confirmed yesterday by the Senate. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on his last day in office. (Associated Press)
  • The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has a big job coming up. Once U.S. troops leave Iraq this year, State will have to take over its own security. But it’s not yet prepared for that task. A new report from the Government Accountability Office said much more training is needed. GAO also said Diplomatic Security must do a better job of tracking whether training is effective. At stake is the safety of 17,000 State Department employees and contractors in Iraq. Diplomatic Security staff are learning how to deal with improvised explosive devices and protecting outposts from rocket fire. (GAO)
  • The American Federation of Government Employees has been certified as the exclusive union representing more than 60,000 Transportation Security Administration workers. The Federal Labor Relations Authority signed off on the results of a runoff election between AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union. AFGE president John Gage said he plans to meet with TSA management July 6 to start hammering out a collective bargaining contract. (AFGE)
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he isn’t going anywhere for the “foreseeable future.” He addressed speculation yesterday that he planned to leave the Obama administration after the current round of budget negotiations. If he did step down, he would be the latest in a series of economic advisers to do so, more than halfway through the term. (Associated Press)
  • Defense contractor Lockheed Martin plans to cut 1,500 jobs in its aeronautics business. The Bethesda-based company says it must cut costs because of the prospect of limited defense spending. Most of the cuts will fall among higher-paid workers at its main aeronautics centers in Texas, Georgia and California. The aeronautics business has about 28,000 employees. Lockheed employs 126,000 people worldwide. (Associated Press)


Feds seek life sentence in border agent’s death

Obama, Congress race clock on debt limit talks


COMING UP ON IN DEPTH: (1 to 3 p.m.)

  • It’s Friday and that means it’s time for the Federal News Countdown, featuring the three most important federal news stories of the week, as chosen by Stan Soloway of the Professional Services Council and veteran federal business executive Lisa Mascolo.
  • Plus, the Census Bureau is doing a major reorganization. Director Robert Groves explains the plan.